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the Lonely Altar

I don't play "games", I play MMORPGs! This is where I talk about them!

Author: Tierless

I never thought I’d hear that from SOE. I thought others might make games with SWG mechanics but I never imagined SOE would make such a bold statement because it’s setting themselves up for failure from minute one.

Most fans will realize SOE doesn’t own any Star Wars rights and simply can’t make an exact copy of SWG again but a fair amount will hold them to that statement and expect SWG2. The day they log in and it doesn’t feel exactly the same they will flood the forums with e-rage faster than you can say SWTOR.

You can’t go home again in MMOs. You can build a new home based on the specs of the old home with various adjustments made for modern convenience. Looking at EQL and EQN I hope that is exactly what they do.

A Sci-Fi Space game with voxel building and destruction tech oh my! I think all of the mmo vagabond SWG vets need to mail Star Citizen a handwritten thank you. If it wasn’t for SC showing that a multi player sci-fi game can draw absurd amounts of money we might not have seen an SWG inspired SOE game. Companies follow the money because they have to. It’s not an evil thing, it’s the nature of business. Money is to companies what XP is to MMOers.

What was SWG’s secret? What made it so epic? So worldly? So immersive? The class system was amazing, but other games have similar...the big open maps were epic in scale, but other games have tried that, the decor was like early Minecraft, but even other SOE games have similar yet still don’t capture the “feeling” of SWG.

IMO it was all of those great elements coming together that contributed to the overall feel but if I had to name one thing that stood out above the rest it was the division of labor and the forced socialization. It created a real world like labor/economic system which worked in tandem with the forced socialization.

As long as this “new title” takes the best of SWG and doesn’t shy away from the “outdated” features, like forced socialization, I have hope for it. If it’s more old school than new school it has a chance. I guess what I’m saying is we don’t even want a new house based on the old spec, we need to remodel the old house but keep the frame and foundation intact. If that is what this new title is then I am somehow even more excited about this genre right now!

It is a fascinating time to be an MMO fan. As for Darth Smed, we’ll see. ;)

One day an old man’s horse ran off, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how terrible, your horse has run off, now work on your farm will be so difficult.” To this the old man replied, “we’ll see.”

The next day the old man’s horse returned leading a group of wild horses, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how wonderful! You have many horses, now you have great wealth and may live easily.” To this the old man replied, “we’ll see.”

The next day the old man’s son was thrown from one of the wild horses and broke his leg, and the neighbor, seeing this, said, “how terrible, your son has broken his leg, now your work will be doubled as nurse and farmer.” To this the old man replied, “we’ll see.”

The next day the king’s men came to the farms seeking all able men to fight a distant battle, and the neighbor, sobbing as his son marched off, said “how fortunate you are for having an injured son, mine will surely perish.” To this the old man replied, “we’ll see.”

#80 It’s all been done before, some people just keep re-doing it better.

Posted by Tierless Monday January 27 2014 at 8:11PM
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It’s all been done before, some people just keep re-doing it better. From Lucas to Tolkien to Hunger Games more and more every story is rooted in a hand full of truly original tales. Rarely does a “new” idea not come from an old idea. Some people feel like that makes the idea less credible, I think just the opposite. If made a story that was based off of lore similar to LOTR’s then EVERYONE will compare mine to it.  That is a heavy heavy burden. It’s like stepping onto the court and saying I am 100% the new Michael Jordan! Once I do I can’t even be as good as Jordan, I have to be better and EVERY little thing I do will be compared to him and how he did it. You have to be brave, a little BSC, and ridiculously creative to take something soo familiar and dare try making it your own.

Some fans like to zing Lucas for openly admitting he took the best parts from all of the mythologies and lore and combined them in Star Wars. I’ve seen interviews where he seemed almost amused that no one had thought to do it before him. I’ve also seen interviews with people that have said Lucas can walk into a room, throw out a new idea, for example a new weapon concept, then describe it to a T, how it functions, how it looks, some of the science behind it, EVERYTHING about it as if it really existed. That is simply incredible! I may not always agree with 100% of his ideas (cough JarJar cough), but imo that man is a creative genius! (FYI as much as many of us hate Jar Jar, or Boba Sarlaccing, or EP I-III the reality is they keep us talking...and buying don’t they?)

“Whats your point you rambling fool!”

My point is, if you look at CU it’s a PVP MMO based on known mythology and lore. On the surface it sounds typical, but then you look at how everything is adjusted, even slightly, to cast off a long line of consequences, intrigue, and mystery, CU is far more than meets the eye...or brief description. Not only does that line of thought apply to the game’s lore, but it translates into the design decisions. Rez has been around forever, how can that be tweaked to make it better? PVP or even RVR has been around forever, it’s become a standard thing, what can we do to improve it? Dwarves have been done by EVERYONE, how can we make them our own? The group of people behind this game seem to be asking themselves those questions, but more importantly they are addressing them with bold chancy ideas. The kind that will upset some (WTF I’ve been a dwarf player for 15 years and now you made them different! /rage), but in the long run win over more than they turn off.

I will admit as much fun as I’ve had over the last, what, 9 months now! I have also had my fair share of doubts. Will they really go outside the box? Yes. Will they really go darker with the content? Yes-much. Will they really stay THIS involved with us a few months after we fund? Yes-somehow. Is Mark Jacobs really as genuine as he seems? Yes. Will they really stay on schedule and hit crash and burn testing in Jan? Yes. Last one here, IMO it’s damn near a miracle in this day in age of the interweb 2.0. Can the community really stay this supportive and this positive going forward? Yes, I truly can not believe it but yes we have!

With the builders tiers now open again and crash and burn testing looming Camelot Unchained  is about to turn the corner. What was will change slightly and what will be is in the hands of those that support it and the crew at CSE. I can’t wait to watch how it all unfolds.


#79 The End of A Day in the life in SWG

Posted by Tierless Saturday January 25 2014 at 11:34PM
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Like everything in the universe my invented profession was not meant to last. As the game was neglected and mismanaged players began to leave. Soon my planet became a ghost town of mostly empty shops and vendors. I was having to travel further and further off planet to find good prices. Due to my lack of combat experience the dangerous planets were a nightmare of one shot deaths and corpse runs (I guess my friends were right, I should have leveled lol). My connections were quitting, the cantinas were empty, entire shops would put “going out of business sale” on their signs. I would go in, clean them out, and pack my vendors full. My location allowed me to hang on longer than most but soon enough my profession didn’t have enough players to support it and I was teetering on the cusp of being useless.

Once things started to slow down I tried going back to leveling, pve, pvp, guild war, etc. but none of them were as entertaining as being a guy who knew how to get things. I enjoyed the conversations, I LOVED the creative decor, I was thrilled when I found a deal, and I had never felt as immersed as I did when I was stocking my vendors in my shop or rearranging my art gallery. I still played my alt but I was putting more time into my main again. My friends were thrilled but it just didn’t feel quite as fun to me.

My poor alt, little did he know his days were numbered. Eventually they changed the auction to function like WOWs and in an instant (and a patch) I no longer had a job. I was replaced by the very thing that made me a wealthy player, convenience! Why pay me to be your delivery guy when you could just click, buy, and it would appear in your inventory. What good was that character now? Having vendors was pointless and he had 0 combat skills. I had already leveled a handfull of combat professions with my main and there was no way I felt like doing it again from scratch. (One of the things that made it easier to level multiple proffs was already having skills from one built up when you began. Starting from 0 was brutal!)

I sold what was left of my goods, packed up the shop, sat on the hill where it was located, watched the sun go down, and logged off that character for the last time. In 12 years as an MMOer and over 25 as a gamer it was the closest I have ever come to being emotional about a game. I knew it wasn’t just quitting an alt, it was basically me checking out of SWG. The game had changed too much, too quickly, and it just didn’t “feel” the same anymore. It used to be like logging into the wild west, anything might happen! Now it felt like I was just playing another game. My guild was the only thing keeping me connected to SWG.

We eventually merged with another guild and even built a city on Lok but I knew I was on my way out. I was just killing time until something better came along. Soon I turned full guild control over to my player council. By that point they had been doing a better job of running it that I was anyway.

With my connections to SWG severed I became an MMO vagabond forever in search for a MMO that could fill the SWG sized hole in my heart. Like many I held onto the hope that SWTOR would use the good elements of SWG but it wasn’t meant to be. Then came hope for SWG 2, but it was just e-hearsay. Just as I had come to accept that what once was would never be, just when I became content to extinguish the last glimmer of hope, just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in!

"SWG players, our next game (not announced yet) is dedicated to you. Once we launch it... you can come home now." Smedley

He, he even said “home” didn’t he?

#78 A Day in the life in SWG Part IV

Posted by Tierless Saturday January 25 2014 at 10:34AM
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As my business boomed I started to develop better relationships with the crafters and other business folk. Most of them seemed to like what I was doing and started using me for deliveries! “Can you deliver X to a guy in Mos Espa for Y$. I’ll tip you half now and half later” “Sure!”. Unfortunately not EVERYONE was so receptive. One day I was buying up some very low marked goods from a vendor on Theed that I occasionally stopped by. (by now I was doing so well that I could clean out a cheap vendor to stock my own) I always thought it was odd that a vendor in such a prime location was so full of cheap stuff! One day I found out why.

Out of the blue I got a LONG game mail message telling me to stop what I was doing because it was affecting someones business. When I tried to contact the person they didn’t exist...I assumed it was a competitor or RPer so I brushed it off. Then one day when I was in the shop on Theed I ran into the shop’s merchant. I recognized his name because he owned MILES of buildings around Theed including every prime location! He asked me a bunch of questions and seemed entertained by how naive I was. Keep in mind I had absolutely no concept of things like gold farming or even forums at this time. I played this game and did little on the net beyond it.

Eventually he said “Ok, you aren’t what I thought you were. You seem a bit lost. Someone will contact you to explain some things about the game.” I was like “WTF, I’m not confused! I’m having a blast! But whatever”...”Ok. thanks!” I knew this guy was a big businessman in game, maybe he wanted to utilize my services? /facepalm I was so so naive back then (ok maybe I still am lol).

A few days later I ran into a random player, dressed poorly, with a bland looking character and a foreign sounding name (even by Star Wars standards). He wanted me to talk to him out of game to which I was like HELL NO thats weird. Then he was like “wait!”, 5 minutes later he would talk again and ask me to contact him out of game again. We kept at that for a few turns until I told him to talk now or I was leaving because I was bored with the waiting (by now I was thinking he was probably talking to someone, getting orders on what to say, then repeating them to me.)

Eventually he said “fine”. He began to explain some things to me in good, but not perfect english (sound familiar?). He was very elusive about it and he NEVER ONCE mentioned the merchant from Theed. When I asked if the merchant had sent him he acted like he had no idea what I was talking about but as naive as I was, he was as equally obvious.

Basically what he explained (but tried not to explain) was the cheap stuff in the vendors was used to bait in marks that “needed help” with the game. Then they were approached with gold buying and character leveling services. My jaw was on the floor. I never even thought such a thing was possible! The very idea of paying cash to be wealthy in a game seemed crazy, not to mention cash in SWG was pretty easy to get if you were semi motivated (group up, solo Rancor missions, repeat or make dancer, dress skimpy, say hun).

Without realizing it I was removing the bait and as a result his or their or whatevers gold selling business IRL was being affected! I felt dazed, is this for real? In my head I was thinking “I’m playing within the rules of the game, go to hell!” but considering he was running a business based on the game I figured he had more to lose, and might be someone I shouldn’t make angry lol. Alpha nerds are scary! Besides that I really didn’t NEED his stuff. I had plenty of other places to buy from, places with merchants that I had good relationships with, and I never really liked leaving Tatooine anyway.

IMO that was a lot of time and drama just to be told “don’t clear out my vendors” but it made for some fantastic emergent content (although at the time I didn’t view it that way). I danced with the devil in the pale moon light and got exposed to a whole different seedy world of MMO stuff that I thought existed. I came out wiser (ok maybe not), more cautious (a little), and slightly in awe of the whole thing (awe=wtf just happened?). Most importantly it supported my assumption that I based my character’s profession on, people will do anything for convenience.

So there you have it, the most fun I ever had in an MMO was playing a delivery driver that got to wear cool clothes and build an art gallery! Unfortunately it was all too good to last. Dark things were on the horizon and the usefulness of my profession was about to be wiped away within one patch. You somehow trudged through the other parts, don’t give up on me now, please join me next time for the sad conclusion of a day in the life in SWG.

#77 A Day in the life in SWG Part III

Posted by Tierless Friday January 24 2014 at 10:55PM
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None of it was a strategy, it was all very organic. One thing led to another and innocently enough I ended buying low, selling high, and starting to do pretty well for myself. Every day I would log on, make my usual shop rounds in search of rare art for my gallery then settle into a cantina (usually in Mos Eisley or Bestine) where I would watch the chats for someone that wanted to buy something. While I did that I would switch to my “main” for a bit and grind mobs that dropped pieces to make rare art items. I had unintentionally memorized the general rates of most desired items and who sold them for cheap.

I’d see a “WTB-thing” and send a tell saying I knew where to get the thing if they wanted it, how much time I needed, what it would cost, etc. Travel, buy, re-sell. I loved doing it and not only did it make the merchant, the maker, and myself money but I re-sold to the buyer at a rate that was still less than the average price! Everyone was happy!

As a rule to myself I would NEVER hide what I was doing if asked and I would NEVER claim I made the items. I always gave credit to the makers. Most people didn’t care, they just didn’t want to have to go find an item for themselves. I distinctly remember a conversation with one player.

Him: “Do you make this stuff?”

Me:  “No, I’m just a guy that knows where to get things.”

Him: “So I could find it cheap for myself if I wanted to?”

Me: “Yep but first you would have to locate it, then you have to travel to the location. I’m a fair guy and you are the first person that has asked me about my line of work so I’ll even give you the general location. It’s in the town near Fort Tusken.”

Keep in mind at this time just to use fast travel via a shuttle it was (up to) a 5 or 10 minute wait! Can you even imagine trying that on players now days! The RAGE! Back then it meant bio or food break or even, dare I say it, socializing! (I can’t remember the exact wait time-damn age)

Him: “So I’m basically paying you to get the item and deliver it?”

Me: “Yep, and I’m still selling it to you cheaper than you’ll find around Bestine.”

Him: “Ok, that works.”

Ah, the power of convenience. While my friends were all doing rancor missions, or alting dancers in skimpy clothing and flirting for easy cash I found my own niche market. I made my own profession within the fabric of the game because the game itself was so open it allowed me to do so. I was happy. Life was good. I had money, a nice little shop, a beautiful guildhall art gallery full of the finest items money could buy! When I couldn’t buy them I used my main to grind for them! These were the good times.

Soon I was introduced to a different, very dark side of SWG that, until this point, I never knew existed in gaming. I was just a guy that was entertained by a unique playstyle, unfortunately that style started to interfere with players that take gaming to a far different place than I do. What was entertainment to me, was a real life business to them, and they didn’t like what I was doing...

#76 A Day in the life in SWG Part II

Posted by Tierless Friday January 24 2014 at 8:44AM
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Since I had stopped leveling my professions beyond my basic vendors and since I never did any combat I had several hilarious occurrences with this character. I can’t tell you how many times I would be chatting away about something with a shop owner when a womp rat (basically a newb zone lvl mob) would aggro me and nearly kill me. Mid conversation you would just see me bolt away, a character in some of the most expensive clothing holding an expensive weapon, running for his life from a newb mob! Often the other player would one shot it, lol, and tell me to level. I’d just lol and say it kept things more exciting for me.

Without intending to I was barely touching my max level character for my lowb alt! I did enough to keep things in my guild on the up and up. I would re-log if I was needed or if a friend wanted to do something, but most of the time I was shopping and talking about shops, decor, clothing, and any other gossip that might be heard in the Mos Eisley cantina. I became a fan of running two clients and leaving my alt in the cantina when I was on my main doing guild stuff. It was a good place to hear the latest rumors about the devs, the long promised combat fix, bug fixes, the war, the best crafters, etc.

Over time I had acquired a vast network of people, knew lots of stuff about lots of players, and could find just about anything anyone wanted in any shop on the planet! My friends had become so annoyed with me always playing my alt they kept telling me to level him since I liked him so much. When I would try to explain what I did with my day they looked at me like I was crazy. “So..you don’t even kill stuff, how is that fun?” was usually the question. To them I was wasting my time, my money, and my characters potential. IMO I was thoroughly entertained, which is why I game right? I don’t play for gear or levels, I play for entertainment! Hence my name, Tierless, friend given in WOW since I never leveled and never acquired any tiered armor. I just alted and grinded for odd stuff I thought looked cool lol.

When I was in the cantina (which was often) I started paying more attention to the buy and sell spam and chat . I had grown fond of image designers and spent a lot of time, and money, playing with different looks. I kept seeing things like WTB guild hall 250k PST. I’d think to myself “if they would just look around a bit they would know the merchant with the cool book shelf fireplace up by the Tusken fort sales his for 180k”. Suddenly it hit me like the hilt of a saber to the back of the head! OMFG I know where all of this stuff is and I love traveling to get it. I could sell them travel convenience! One /tell later I was on a 30 minute round trip to deliver a Guild Hall that I purchased for 180K and was selling for 230K! What, I figured he would appreciate the slight deal and maybe use me in the future because of it! It also guaranteed me the sale. How many players would lowball themselves when they didn’t have to lol?

I didn’t think about it back then but I think it helped that I maintained a kind of RP persona inspired by Henry Hill from the movie Goodfellas. Hill seemed like a guy that always knew how to get things and had a substantial network of connections so it just made sense to me. I wouldn’t say I truly RPed I just spoke/typed in a unique way, dressed in a unique way, and carried myself in a certain way (I always tipped EVERYONE that took the time to offer up some information very well), lol, ok, so maybe that is RP! In my opinion it ended up making interacting with me a bit more memorable and entertaining for the other player. I mean, that is why we play MMOs right? To have social stuff mixed in with other stuff in the pursuit of being entertained.

It was a beautiful thing. I could make money just by doing the unique thing I enjoyed doing. I didn’t HAVE to grind rancors or group missions or do any PVP OR PVE! I could just keep on my quest for cool stuff for my gallery and make sales along the way, perfect! I decided to try my hand at being a SWG deliver driver.

#75 A Day in the life in SWG Part I

Posted by Tierless Wednesday January 22 2014 at 11:03PM
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Enough already! After going through both er, the hundrerrr, thousands, yes, thousands of requests I have decided to explain what a day in the life of SWG was and why I still rave about it like a teenage girl over Justin Bieber.

First off, yes I know the combat was a hot mess, really weird, que based, borked and just plain old nonsensical at times, fortunately I barely ever did any combat, but before you turn away be aware that I never crafted either...

So if I didn’t combat, and I didn’t craft, and I wasn’t a dancer saying “hun” to people for easy cash, WTF did I do?

Lets que some good memory lane music and I’ll share with you what it was like on a backwood desert planet in a galaxy far far away...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B_7TR-X4eFY

(wipes tears from eyes)

When I started playing SWG life was a bit less...crowded. I had this thing called “free time”, and lots of it. If it was a day that I didn’t work, or Uni, or workout I would wake up around noon, drink a boost for breakfast and park myself at the computer. With a mini fridge full of soda and a drawer full of snacks I didn’t get up again unless it was for bio and even then sometimes I just let it go...ok I’m lying, but only about the bio part.

“Get to the story already jackass”

Alright, alright! My first character was a combat character geared for solo PVE. I was a master TKM, master 2 handed swordsman, and some other stuff. I used this character to acquire (grind for) rare and unique things and run my guild. Like with most combat toons after a while I was a bit bored (grinding, yeash). That was when I bought a second account and started my alt. I was always into cool clothing so I was going to make him a clothier. I got to work doing the grind by using the resources (moneys) from my main. I was fortunate enough to get a fantastic shop location on the hill right outside of Anchorhead. My alt was leveled just enough to have vendors and make very basic clothing. That is when I peaked. I never acquired XP with that character again (other than vendor selling XP)!

My alt was meant to be a sort of smuggler/dealer of fine goods. He wore a dress suit and carried a pistol, but had rarely ever used it. Swoops were faster but I preferred to ride in a red and white X-31 Landspeeder because it looked better. I used him to drive around checking vendors for good prices on rare items. My goal was to build an art gallery in game. If I came across a really good deal I would buy it/them and put them in my own vendors for slightly more cash. I knew the convenience of my location would get me some sales since at this time in SWG you could not buy an item and have it appear in your inventory, you HAD to go pick it up. Never underestimate the value of convenience, just ask apple.

Part of the reason I would drive from shop to shop was to see the creative decor. I LOVED seeing how inventive players were. I rarely left Tatooine because I simply prefered that planet to the rest. Once in a great while I would go to Naboo and shop around Theed but it just never felt like home the way that Tat did.

I always kept my eye out for good deals and cool clothing. The only thing I loved more than creative decor was creative clothing. I was an absolute fiend for well made/colored clothes. A good designer could take an unassuming item and make it incredible if matched and colored correctly. I’ll NEVER forget the Dr. Dress. That thing colored correctly just screamed uber Sith Lord!

Every day I would log on, get in my car and start going from shop to shop. It was explore at it’s finest! When I came across an impressive place I would message the owner and ask them about it, who did it, if it was them, their thought process, etc. At the time I was just being a fan, what I didn’t realize was that I was forming a distinct catalog of knowledge and a network of skilled creative players. It wasn’t a plan, but much like Morgan Freeman in The Shawshank Redemption, being a “man that knows how to get things” in SWG would work out far better than I could have ever imagined...

 

#74 Warcraft will save this genre.

Posted by Tierless Wednesday January 15 2014 at 4:26PM
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Like a lot of “passionate” gamers I’m not fond of the WOW effect on the genre and I haven’t been into that game since the days of T-Mill vs S-Shore (you know what I’m talking about oldschoolers). Up until recently I didn’t care about WOW. I had given up on my dreams of open world PVP and player housing and moved on. It was entirely off my radar. Then I saw an article about how it’s declining. Again I brushed it off. A few days later a scary thought hit me like TBC expansion! If WOW dies, what does that do to the genre?

Over night it would be a lot harder for devs to convince boards to invest in a new MMO. Based on how the last few “big ones” have done (doing their best Titanic impressions before jumping the shark to FTP) I assume it’s already pretty tough. WOW declining makes that even harder. A few years ago you point at WOW, point at how easy it would be to copy WOW (so you think), point at $$$ WOW makes a month and get ready to duck as the moneys came flying at you.

Remove that and it becomes a much harder pitch to MMO Inc. In a post WOW genre we will see less and less “big timeerrific AAA” MMOs based on license to print money IPs...but is that a bad thing?

Looks into the past, sees several smallish studios grinding away to make worlds to live in...HECK NO! This is great! Sure it becomes a harder process but maybe the giant corporate studios will stop caring about the genre and stop overseeing the MMOs they do put some money into (well, pull back a bit at least). The result being more control in the hands of the developers which means more unique and interesting MMOs!

Look at the genre right now, it’s already began. Crowd funded, hardcore, old school, unique, risky, crazy concept, WORLDS TO LIVE IN GALORE!

It will be a harder road. It will be a rougher road. It will be a road that not everyone makes it to the end of. But by gawd I have faith that WOW’s decline will help revive the genre we all love! Maybe even WOW itself will be allowed more freedom (ok, maybe not). The voxel, crowd sourced, WOW declining, the time is nigh! Soon the money will leave this genre and it will fall back into the hands of those who love it so! It’s a good time to be an MMO fan. After so many years of oppression and sub-par games we are almost there. Stay with us just a little longer and this blogger feels MMORPGs will be going back to the future in a big way!

Just look at the names of developers trying to make new MMORPGs right now! Old shops, new shops, new shops with old shop owners and enough niche MMOs in development for just about everyone! I haven’t been this excited about MMORPGs since my friend told me I would be able to live out Star Wars in a game!

WOW’s decline is scary but in the long run I think it will end up helping WOW and the Genre itself far more than it will hurt. Who knows, a few “crazy” expansions, or at least an old school vanilla server and maybe it will be time to give Ole WOW another try! To be honest just the idea of an old school server, but with some PVP additions in the open world makes my MMO senses tingle. That would be a heck of a fun game wouldn’t it?

 

#73 The Will of the Whale the Death of FTP

Posted by Tierless Monday January 13 2014 at 10:25AM
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Are you a whale or a fail?

FTP and BTP games are slaves to the whales. Whales are the players that drop big dollas in the game they frequent. I assume most whales are fairly wealthy players with money to toss around like Dana White playin some Black Jack. They keep your game alive. They are the ones that fund your MMO. One spending spree by a whale makes up for 666 of the rest of you freeloading FTPers.

As a result, MMO companies understandably bend themselves to the will of the Whale. They have to. Retain whale-keep game going, lose whale, game has no funds, game must die. It’s the sad thing that keeps SWTOR propped up and looking successful in spite of itself. SWTOR has Star Wars fans. Star Wars fans, as documented, HAVE to buy EVERYTHING Star Wars. Put out any product, no matter how poor, but have the SW IP and fans will throw money at you because; Star Wars. How else could something as terribad as SWTOR, or EPs I-III ever make money? We HAVE to. Star Wars fans gotten taken advantage of more than Indiana Jones himself for cryin out loud! How can I be so sure? The craploads of money I’ve spent on way too much Star Wars stuff thats how! (FYI rumor is the new one will be about the old crew then transition to their kids in the sequel, OMFG can’t wait to see the gang back in action one last time!!!)

Back onto FTP before my e-rage swallows me like a whale a new cosmetic item. When you have a controlling minority dictating the direction of your games bad things will come (see oligarchy and plutocracy). When power rests with the few they do what is best for them (and who wouldn't) and as a result the majority began to suffer. It’s not some evil intention, it’s just human nature. If you don’t design for them, you are out of a job! Soon the devs begin to make your MMO so specifically appealing that the rest of the players lose interest. They figure out that you aren’t investing in them or their requests and they move onto the next FTP.

Fortunately (also very Murican) is choice. Choice matters. Choice changes. Choice dictates. MMO X no longer gives a blank about what you want, so you can choose to move onto MMO Y. MMO Y follows the same path so you move onto Z but the reality is at the end of the day it’s your own fault you cheap SOB! If you had shunned the FREE model companies wouldn’t have ran with it, whales wouldn’t matter, and we would all be happily paying $15 a month for equality.

What was my point...oh yeah, FTP sounds too good to be true because it is. You are sacrificing a game made from the equality of a flat fee per month to appeal to all of its subscribers for a game that only cares about the top 3% of big spenders. Ask yourself, is $15 a month worth having a say in the game I love? Is it worth it to keep the MMO I love pure and focused on the greater good and benefit of the whole rather than the few? IMO $15 for consumer equality is a heck of a deal.

 

#72 Is Alpha the new FTP?

Posted by Tierless Friday January 10 2014 at 9:10AM
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5 years ago asking me to pay for Alpha would have resulted in mass LOLs. ALPHA, who would PAY to help make a game?!?! LOL. Now DayZ just made major cash for selling it.

...

My oh my how quickly things change. First it was “make a world to live in”, then it was “make a WOW clone”, then it was “make a FTP”, not it’s “crowd source” aka get them to pay to test your game!

This genre is full of trends and it’s fun to ride them. I remember when making an MMO meant making a world sim! Devs were terrified at attempting such a feat! Then in came WOW and everything changed. Suddenly you could make a typical a to b game BUT have it be playable with your friends online. WOW that is a lot easier and it sells! Lets do that!

Pretty soon it wasn’t WOW but rather Whales. Turns out a lot of gamers have addictive personalities (no ####) and too much “fun” cash. In the blink of an eye the monthly sub was considered “dead” and buried LOL. PTP is DEAD! TESO and Wildstar want you to PTP, OMFG they will fail! No one wants to do that! OMFTP!!!

No. The gamers have always been happy to drop $15 a month as long as we felt like we got $15 of improvement or content back. It was when companies got greedy and started putting that money into other things rather than improving the customers experience that we rebelled against the $15. The funniest part is they thought their games failed because of the $15 LOL. No again. We were simply exercising our consumer right to quality purchases. I’ve never heard one single MMOer complain about the 15 if it was going to a game and company they thought was worth it. One that had their back. One that they KNEW loved their game as much as they did.

Do not confuse the lack of desire to put $15 into a sub par game with the desire to put it into a game that is actually worth it. What a crazy concept! FTP is a shark jumping act of desperation. It’s an ever increasing battle over an ever shrinking market. It’s days are numbered and the next QUALITY mmo to ask for my $15 will get it with a smile. Sadly I haven’t seen nor played one since nilla WOW that was worth it! You want my money, offer me a product that is worth it. You tell me you want me to have it for free, that tells me what you think of your product now doesn’t it? So good you have to give it away, riiiiiight.

Back to alpha. Gamers LOVE being first. Exclusive information will ALWAYS make someone feel above the rest and it will always have a value. See human history. Will I pay for someones alpha? If I trust the company and think I will get my moneys worth yes I will. Do I think MOST companies are worth a paid alpha, no. BUT if it means more MMOs and chancier MMOs than I am all for it. I worry that too many bad paid alpha experiences will ruin the concept for everyone but hopefully that won’t be the case.

We are at a pivotal point in the genre. WOW’s success is failing. As it does it will get harder and harder for devs to convince owners to fund such an expensive type of game. Yes that means as much as many of us hate WOW for what it has become, a MMO genre without it means a much less funded genre. Besides, deep deep deep deeeeeeeeeeeeeep down at it’s core WOW is still good. It’s thoughts of money betray it, deep down I can feel the good in it... As WOW fails more and more the burden will fall to us, the MMORPGers to fund our own games! If there was one type of gamer that I think can handle the burden, it’s us. We are simply a different breed of gamer, maybe of person. We march to a different drum. We are entertained by different things. We ask more of our devs than other gamers, and it turns out we will make it happen, together, for us, by us! Dev and fan go hand in hand to the dawning of the new era. The paid Alpha crowd funded, crowd sourced MMO era. MMORPGs and Alphas for all!

#71 DayZ, No ####!

Posted by Tierless Wednesday January 8 2014 at 12:23PM
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As I watch Day Z make an absolute KILLING on an ALPHA all I can think is, DO YOU BELIEVE US NOW?!?!? DO YOU HEAR US NOW?!?!?! Probably not...MMO Inc is convincing itself we are still a small niche living in the past and longing for games that are way way too harsh for the modern mass market to desire. Well, 800k copies and over 12 Mill in a month for the alpha of one of the most unforgiving games in recent memory says otherwise!

I’m sure all the “guys that know” will come out and assure us that while we all “think” we want something like Day Z, we don’t. I’m sure marketing and PR will keep on telling all of us what we really want is another mindless, inconsequential, shallow game based on a well known IP. They will spend countless interviews saying the MMO market is dead and evolved into the LOL market. DayZ is just a rare game that made it because of timing and the fact that zombies are “in” right now. We all know to admit a mistake and to accept responsibility is simply not acceptable in the corporate world so we will never hear the powers that be say “Ok, we should have listened, we should have given you challenging worlds to die in again”.

I worry the powers that be live in such an isolated culture that the only thing this means to them is “We gotta have more Zombies in our DOTA clones!”. I don’t fault the big companies from making trendy games. They have to answer to investors and the majority of investors only care about one thing, stock going up, and the guys with the power usually haven’t played a game since being good at pinball meant you got the girl and a free soda pop! At least thats what is seems like. You have 500k investors, do you do the risky game or the mainstream safer one?

Don’t worry about them, just keep on showing them what you want with your hard earned money. Keep supporting games that are “too harsh for the mainstream market” and stay angry. Keep that fire burning and never let it be forgotten that when the industry told us we wanted hand holding theme parks we stood firm and begged for a consequential world to live or die in!

The saddest thing is that DayZ is more like an FPS than a full on MMO. I don’t mean that as a knock to DayZ. What I mean is it’s incredibly simple compared to the worlds that MMOs were once capable of. I mean, if people like DayZ one would think they would LOVE a full on MMO with all the bells, whistles, depth and possibilities amiright?

Maybe not. Maybe the DayZers like the simplicity of being a FPS. I’m sure it makes failing and starting over a lot easier. That reminds me, I hope sociologists are watching that game, much to be learned about human behavior in an environment like that. I saw The Road, it ain't pretty, but it’s probably not as cutthroat as the corporate ladder! Now that is an idea for an MMO! I imagine it would be something like DayZ meets GTA plus more political backstabbing (shivers) just thinking about it gives me chills!

Sigh, 2 questions I can never answer but oft dream about. What if Rome never fell? FYI I assume by now we would have light sabers and hyper space travel! And what if the MMO genre kept trying to make worlds instead of parks? How incredible would MMORPGs be right now? People are shocked and impressed with DayZ lol. UO did that 17 years ago!

 

#70 Camelot Unchained 2014 Predictions Part 2

Posted by Tierless Monday January 6 2014 at 1:48PM
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Over the next year the picture on stealth will become clear. I predict the VS vs VW system will be discussed internally, then on the forums, then end up a high end stretch goal.

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

In the year 2014 the rest of the CSE crew will all be forced to don masks and funny hats at the behest of MJ and Andrew. They will no longer be allowed breaks but rather have feed bags strapped to their specially designed masks, along with IVs resulting in never ever, and the Tierless means EEEEEVVVEER leaving their work stations agaaaaaain! If they get their hours in (min 133 per week) they will earn the “privilege” to be served Nutraloaf (google it) and be allowed the “freedom” to eat it with one hand (obviously they have to keep working with the other hand).

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

The bounty system will be detailed (in a fairly basic form) midway through next year. A stretch goal will appear for a more comprehensive system.

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

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In 2014 we will see an influx of new Founders/Backers. This will result in a fringe group of fans known as the Dirty Fackers (DF). They will begin wearing masks to show loyalty to MJ and Andrew who they begin refer to as a single entity known as “Supreme Overlord An-J”. With “WAKO 4 BAHKO” proudly tattooed on their knuckles they will attempt a coup to take over the forums to silence those that dare oppose “Supreme Overlord An-J” and his plan to force every single character in game to wear a mask and silly hat. The coup will fail when it’s unveiled that the leader of the Dirty Fackers knuckle tattoo was infact a lick n stick resulting in the quick dissolution of the entire rogue faction. While the Fackers will be no more they will end up as an in game 4th realm of mercenaries. Unfortunately upon joining them you lose all abilities other than /kneel, have 3 hit points, and drop the best resources in the game...

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

The rancher/farmer/caravan system will appear high atop the stretch goal list. Far higher than most believe possible, but we will make this goal, just barely.

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

2014 will be a year of building for CU. Building and funding and stretch goals. As more MMORPGers begin to see CU meet its expectations and goals they will begin to support it, albeit tentatively at first. Many will go from “trolling” to “on the fence”. The impending beta and how it performs will be the great divider that either draws the minions in, or sends them screaming away. This blogger predicts we will have to wait until my 2015 predictions to find out how that will work out. ;)

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

“But Tierless, you still haven’t said, what about you, what will you be doing over the next year?”


Well friends, that is mighty thoughtful of you for asking. 2014 looks to be an interesting year for me in many ways. Hopefully my Kick Started MMO Murica Online; Uncle Slam, funds. I’m marketing it to the Duck Dynasty crowd because I got a niche I just can’t scratch, and that niche is the double D fanbase! I don’t mean to brag but we plan to feature the most comprehensive assortment of beards in the history of gaming, and...and maybe even the world itself! We will also have some: “new, fresh ideas” “revolutionary things” “new takes on old concepts taking them to a new level” “an IP that you can’t resist” and we promise to “do things no one has done before”. We don’t plan to be the WOW beater but our early projections and Paradox Alpha (PA) phase (purchasable for 3 easy payments of 599.95) (back us or you will miss out on something epic and your friends will hate you) player poll data sampling is in and our PA players are RAVING about how this game is already the GOAT, and technically it doesn’t even exist, thats just how good it is! ;)

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

....

What's that you say? One more? I, I don’t know..oh heck, you know I can’t say no to you! One more. Ahem.

...

In the year 2014 Dragons and their role in CU will not be unveiled until nearly 2015...Oh, and I’ll wear a Lucha Libre Mask because; to quote a smart, rich, famous person, "There's power in looking silly and not caring that you do."...(hey I need a gimmy) :)

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

#69 Camelot Unchained 2014 Predictions Part 1

Posted by Tierless Saturday January 4 2014 at 10:49AM
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First a little something to set the mood for my epic, entirely accurate, and 100% serious predictions. You are welcome. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ElL8hdQD_4

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In the year 3000...I mean 2014 we will learn the TRUE name of Camelot Unchained. This blogger predicts it will be Berserk Afro Highlander Kitty Online (aka BAHKO)...

(in a high pitched singing voice, “huminyah yaaaaaaaa”)

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Within the first 3 months of 2014 CU will reopen it’s tiers to new backers, most likely with some sort of epic vid and maybe even some very rough gameplay footage! We will see a big bump in the first few days then the money will trickle again until a “last day bump”. It won’t be nearly as “OMG” as the first run but will get us a few more stretch goals including (and beginning with), The Depths!

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

In the year 2014 Mark Jacobs will begin wearing a Helbound mask yet deny that they are his favorite class and that he plans to main one when CU (aka BAHKO) launches. He will also...post on the backer forums! (hey, I need a few gimmys to look smart right?)

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

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Over the next year I expect CU/CSE to keep doing what it has been, rolling out updates, filling in the lore, participating on the forums, and making me proud I became a backer. CSE will continue striving to set the precedent for backer interaction and participation. As the info fills in fans will sit back and smile at the consequential, harsh, boon vs bane, “world to live in” CU is becoming. Some will begin to feel uncomfortable at such harshness, most will embrace it.

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

...

In the year 2014 Andrew will buy more funny hats, then (once running out of hats) turn to buying and wearing lucha libre masks to make MJ feel less outcast for wearing his Helbound mask at the office. ;) He will also...code! (what, I said I need some gimmys)

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

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Over the next year we will see CU hit most of it’s dates, and miss a couple, but not by much. As Crash N’ Burn becomes Alpha the legend of the game (and how much access and transparency the supporters have been given) will continue to spread among the interwebs. Some will speak of a masked man in a funny hat, others a league of devout disciples, some will be wrong, but some will be right...at the same time!

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

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If 2013 was the year of the Duck, 2014 will be the year of the turtle. I’ll miss our feathery friends but lets be honest, anyone that knows ducks knows they are one foul act away from being in the same regard as rats and pigeons. The noble turtle on the other hand is calm, gracious, slow but steady, and capable of more than meets the eye. It’s a common misconception that turtles “hide” when danger is near, turtles don’t hide, they wait. Remember that.

(huminyah yaaaaaaaa)

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“But Tierless, what about the CSE crew, what about the Founders, the forums, you, and most importantly, what will happen to Duck Dynasty?!?!”

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Woaaaa, woaaaaaa, easy now friends. Incase you didn’t notice I’m not phouking around with these predictions. I just couldn’t fit them all into one post! Part II is comin at ya sooner than later, ya dig?